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Sunday, November 4, 2012
ATH Tyler Luatua has USC, Bama interest

By Blair Angulo

LA MIRADA, Calif. -- The workload will likely lessen for two-way standout Tyler Luatua in college. As funny as that statement sounds, it might be true.

Tyler Luatua
Tyler Luatua plays a number of positions, but he likes tight end most.
For the time being, though, La Mirada High School football coach Mike Moschetti utilizes every last bit of the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Luatua’s skill set. Does that include run blocking? Yep. Pass blocking? Definitely. Wheel routes? Out routes? Check and check. Pass rusher off the edge? Absolutely. Run-stopping linebacker? Of course.

The Class of 2014 prospect does all the dirty work for La Mirada (9-1), which heads into the postseason as the favorite to capture the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division championship. For Luatua, there is time for water breaks in between series and not much else.

His versatility begs a question that even some members of La Mirada’s program have found themselves asking: What will he play at the next level?

On Friday night, prior to a 28-10 win against Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair to cap a perfect Suburban League record in the regular season finale, a Matadores assistant compared Luatua to current UCLA hybrid linebacker Anthony Barr (6-4, 235), who starred as a running back at Los Angeles Loyola and hadn’t played defense for the Bruins until this year.

While his future position is debatable, Luatua certainly has a preference.

“Tight end, no doubt,” he said. “That’s my favorite position to play. That’s where I want to play at the next level.”

And while other schools project him at defensive end or linebacker, tight end is exactly what USC is recruiting Luatua as.

“I love the USC coaching staff,” Luatua said. “Tight ends coach [Justin] Mesa is really cool. He was nice when I went to one of their camps this summer. He knows how to coach.”

Luatua, who is soft-spoken off the field, didn’t shy from pegging USC and Alabama as his two leaders prior to the season. Ten weeks later, that’s still the case.

Family ties -- his brother Isaac Luatua is a freshman offensive lineman at Alabama -- have raised his interest in the SEC power. The Trojans, meanwhile, offer locale as a major selling point. Luatua said he and his family had not yet been able to visit his brother in Tuscaloosa, Ala., something that obviously wouldn’t be an issue if he were to stay in Los Angeles for college.

“I’ve been talking to USC a lot. They want me to go to all of their home games,” Luatua said. “Alabama, obviously, is the other one I’m looking at closely, but they’re not really talking to me much right now. Notre Dame told me they’ll be out here to see me when they play USC [on Nov. 24] and Auburn has been sending me a ton of letters, too.”

Luatua also has offers from a number of high-profile schools, including Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Oklahoma, among others. Despite the constant recruiting attention -- Oregon and Utah recently dropped by La Mirada to gauge interest -- Luatua is allowing the process to unfold as it will.

“Right now, I’m just going off of what I see in games and how teams are playing,” Luatua said. “Once I start taking visits to schools, probably after the season, I’ll be able to start making choices. Then, I’ll probably choose a college before my senior season.”

As for his on-field exploits, well, those have a pace of their own.